The Next Phase of Genetic Engineering: A Flood of New Crops Evading Environmental Regulation

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You may have heard of the new genetically engineered Simplot potato. It was made with a new GE technology called RNAi (RNA interference), a technology for which many important gaps remain in our understanding. In fact, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently asked a panel of independent scientists for advice about this technology,… Read More

The Non-GMO Dairy Revolution

Snowville Creamery’s Warren Taylor creates model to increase non-GMO feed supply as a way to convert to organic and eliminate GMOs.

Snowville Creamery, based in Pomeroy, Ohio, is a small dairy operation, but its owner, Warren Taylor, has big ideas. Taylor wants to change the food system—from one based on factory farms and GMOs to one based on local, sustainable, non-GMO, and organic farms and foods. He is starting with his own operation.

Go Ahead, Dumpster Dive. This Guy Will Pay The Fine.

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Dumpster divers of the world, unite. Last week, food waste activist Rob Greenfield offered to pay the fines and bring some media attention to anyone who gets arrested or ticketed for taking and eating tossed food.

Greenfield has been drawing attention to food waste by traveling the country, engaging local communities, and photographing the enormous quantities of wasted food he finds. Now he hopes more Americans will begin looking at the problem directly by trying it themselves by taking people’s fear of arrest and fines out of the equation. Read More

Louisiana Lawmakers Put Corn Belt Farms Before Gulf Shrimpers

The Gulf Dead Zone is 2.7 billion problem, but the problem starts upstream. "Bayou La Batre harbor aerial view" by Adrien Lamarre, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library.

Agriculture field run-off is the main contributor to the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, an oxygen-deprived swath of ocean the size of Connecticut. Fertilizer from farms throughout the Midwest washes into the Mississippi River and eventually makes its way into the Gulf. This pollution kills everything in its wake and threatens Louisiana’s $2 billion a year seafood industry with yearly losses to shrimp farmers alone estimated between $300 and $500 million.

And in what could only be described as a case of national sticker shock, a newly released study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that fixing the problem would cost an eye-popping $2.7 billion a year.

The Gulf Dead Zone isn’t the only agriculture body of water imperiled by farm pollutants either. Des Moines, Iowa and Toledo, Ohio have both been in the news recently as residents in both cities struggle with fertilizer run-off in their drinking water.

There are five basic ways to address the problem. Read More

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of The Day. Or Is It? [Audio]

Photography by Viktor Rosenfeld, used under a Creative Commons license.

Armed with a healthy dose of caffeine chronopharmacology, we embark on a global breakfast tour that exposes the worldwide dominance of Nutella, as well as the toddler kimchi acclimatization process. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., we trace the American breakfast’s evolution from a humble mash-up of leftover dinner foods to its eighteenth-century explosion into a feast of meats, griddle cakes, eel, and pie—followed swiftly by a national case of indigestion and a granola-fueled backlash. Breakfast has been a battleground ever since: in this episode, we not only explain why, but also serve up the best breakfast contemporary science can provide. Read More

Seeds: The Heart of Organic Innovation

Seed Matters director Matthew Dillon (left) and Seed Matters organic bar...

Matthew Dillon learned a tough lesson about seeds early in his career. Dillon was the executive director of the Abundant Life Seed Foundation at the time. The former organic farmer says he had become “obsessed with heirloom conservation and the importance of conserving genetic diversity,” and had spent time building the Foundation’s seed bank. Then one day, Abundant Life’s office—and seeds—was ruined in a fire. Over 5,000 rare plant varieties went up in smoke. Read More

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap: Mormons and the Land

North Ogden Utah Peach Orchard

This is the second installment of our ongoing Faith in Food series. Read the first installment here.

On a hot summer day two years ago, Michael Larsen, a Rexburg, Idaho father of five, answered a call for volunteers from a bean farm near the Utah border, bringing with him his two young daughters. In a scene recalling an Amish barn-raising, he describes many hands making light work of hoeing the sun-baked, pancake-flat field, each group working two or three approximately half-mile-long rows. Read More

This Urban Farmer is Growing Jobs in Her Community

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In 2012, the city of Richmond, California, garnered national attention when its residents voted down a ballot measure to impose a tax on sugary beverages. Groups like Dunk the Junk hoped the measure would significantly hamper the city’s growing obesity problem. Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, saw the tax as an opportunity to invest in the health of her community. Read More

Dig In! 5 Places to Grow Urban Food

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With nearly 80,000 people crammed into four square miles, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, is easily the most densely populated in New England. But in spite of spatial constraints—or perhaps because of them—the Somerville community has prioritized supporting urban agriculture. With limited space and a hankering for homegrown food, residents are squeezing gardens and greenery into as many places as possible. Read More